Well, this is happening. You can now sign up for the closed beta for a Facebook game. The Dragon Age Legends Facebook game, no less. Why bother with it, other than to see how publishers play around with integrating social games as an awareness generator for an upcoming release?
Well, you get a “first taste” of the “Free Marches”, the primary setting in Dragon Age II. Completing specific goals in Dragon Age Legends can earn you up to five exclusive items for Dragon Age II. If you get picked for this closed beta for a social game, you’ll also get a Jade Empire inspired Death’s Hand Armor for your hero in Legends once it enters open beta.
Finally, if you buy and log in to Dragon Age II by March 15, you’ll receive the BioWare Signature pack for Dragon Age Legends. This gives you Hawke as a companion, a couple of items, and an “exclusive” to show your friends that you really, really like Dragon Age.
Seriously though, do we really need a closed and open beta for a social game element of a franchise? Perhaps it will drive interest and a sense of jealousy if your friends are spamming your feed with a game you can’t even play yourself, but it makes you wonder if that’s going to drive more sales. I’m all in favor of trying out new avenues — social games included — but a closed beta kind of goes against the idea of surfing the wave of virality to generate new users.
You can sign up here to give it a try, and keep your required EA Account at the ready if you have one.